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The Dominican Republic’s Border Campaign against Haiti, 1930-1961
The island of Hispaniola is split by a border that divides the Dominican Republic and Haiti. This border was long contested and largely porous. But beginning in the late nineteenth century, Dominican policies attempted to establish this border more firmly. The dictator Rafael Trujillo intensified these attempts in the middle of the twentieth century and established state institutions and an ideological campaign against what he considered an inferior state. Paulino examines these policies as they relate to the construction of Dominican national identity—an identity built largely in opposition to the idea of a black Haiti.
“Beth Bachmann’s Temper was the last time [in forty years] I remember reading a first book by a poet so prodigally and—the word that came to my mind was—severely gifted. The new poems in Do Not Rise are a quantum leap forward with all the metaphorical leaps, adumbrations, dizzyings, deft, brief knottings that make the poems in Temper so dazzling. A remarkable young talent, and a scary one.”—Robert Hass
Winner of the 2013 Donald Hall Prize in Poetry. The Dottery is a tale of dotters before they are born. In this series of prose poems you meet their would-be-mutters, the buoys they will know, their inner warden, and the mutterers who cannot have them. The Dottery itself is a sort-of pre-purgatory, a finishing school for the fetal feminine. The five sections correspond to the conceptual set-ups interrogated within. In “wound,” The Dottery is described, as are its inhabitants and their difficulties. In “Dual,” a gender binary is introduced and (hopefully) eviscerated. “Triage” establishes the issues that plague both the dotters and those who would bring them out into the world—specifically into the idea of America (I’m Erica and I can prefer a hummer to the rose parade”). In “Fear,” failed dotters (out in the world) are described in obit fashion. Finally, in “Thief” one mutterer recounts how she stole her dotter (“a snatched piece”) to become a mutter and chronicles both her desires and regrets.
The Double Truth is a collection of poems that arc from myth to history, knowledge to mystery, Eros to natural love, animals to human beings, then back in an alternating poetic current that betrays a speaker who is at once a privileged witness of her time and a diachronic amalgam of voices that are as imagined as they are real in their anonymous legacy.
Teaching Literacy in a Multicultural Society
David Schaafsma presents a powerful and compelling book about the struggle of teaching literacy in a racially divided society and the importance of story and storytelling in the educational process. At the core of this book is the concept of storytelling as an interactive experience for both the teller and listener. Schaafsma offers rich samples of students' writing about their lives in a troubled neighborhood. Eating on the Street offers stories by Schaafsma, his colleagues, and students to illustrate how talking across multiple perspectives can enrich the learning process and the community-building process outside the classroom as well.
The Business of Anti-neoliberal Politics in Venezuela
Venezuela's Hugo Chávez was the first anti-neoliberal presidential candidate to win in the region. Electing Chávez examines the circumstances that facilitated this pivotal election. By 1998, Venezuela had been rocked by two major scandals-the exchange rate incidents of the 1980s and the banking crisis of 1994-and had suffered rising social inequality. These events created a deep-seated distrust of establishment politicians. Chávez's 1998 victory, however, was far from inevitable. Other presidential candidates also stood against corruption and promised a clean break from politics as usual. Moreover, business opposition to Chávez's anti-neoliberal candidacy should have convinced voters that his victory would provoke a downward economic spiral. In Electing Chávez, Leslie C. Gates examines how Chávez won over voters and even obtained the secret allegiance of a group of business “elite outliers,” with a reinterpretation of the relationship between business and the state during Venezuela's era of two-party dominance (1959-1998). Through extensive research on corruption and the backgrounds of political leaders, Gates tracks the rise of business-related corruption scandals and documents how business became identified with Venezuela's political establishment. These trends undermined the public's trust in business and converted business opposition into an asset for Chávez. This long history of business-tied politicians and the scandals they often provoked also framed the decisions of elite outliers. As Gates reveals, elite outliers supported Chávez despite his anti-neoliberal stance because they feared that the success of Chávez's main rival would deny them access to Venezuela's powerful oil state.
A few days before his death in 1996, Larry Levis mentioned to his friend and former instructor Philip Levine that he had "an all-but-completed manuscript" of poems. Levine had years earlier recognized Levis as "the most gifted and determined young poet I have ever had the good fortune to have in one of my classes"; after Levis's death, Levine edited the poems Levis had left behind. What emerged is this haunting collection,Elegy. The poems were written in the six years following publication of his previous book, The Widening Spell of the Leaves, and continue and extend the jazz improvisations on themes that gave those poems their resonance.
In Dean Young's sixth book of poems, elegiac necessity finds itself next to goofy celebration. Daffy Duck enters the Valley of the Eternals. Faulkner and bell-bottoms cling to beauty's evanescence. Even in single poems, Young's tone and style vary. No one feeling or idea takes precedence over another, and their simultaneity is frequently revealed; sadness may throw a squirrelly shadow, joy can find itself dressed in mourning black. As in the agitated "Whirlpool Suite": "Pain / and pleasure are two signals carried / over one phone line." In taking up subjects as slight as the examination of a signature or a true/false test, and as pressing as the death of friends, Young's poems embrace the duplicity of feeling, the malleability of perception, and the truth telling of wordplay.
The poet employs colloquial diction, references pop and classical culture, and travels at 1000 miles per hour in his fourth collection. For those who think contemporary poetry is about abject confessions, vacation in Provence and opaque ‘academicisms,’ McDaniel is an intro to a new world.